App Development Costs (2023)

App Development Costs (1)

How much does it cost to make an app? Likely, this is one of the first questions that app brands and developers need to know an answer for, when they launch an app development project. An app development cost estimate is the most basic and yet crucial component of a budget for any mobile app development project. Quite often a company owner finds herself trying to answer these two questions – how much does it cost to creat an app for my business via hiring an app development company versus how much does it cost to develop an app internally.

Both approaches have their pros and cons. To shed some light on how each impacts an app development cost, let’s review both.

After operating a number of years on a market, app development companies can build the right set of skills to tackle multi-platform mobile app development projects efficiently, often app projects can be quite complicated, they may involve advanced mobile tech, including Machine Learning to power sophisticated computation, augmented reality as well as Blockchain, IoT and more.

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Leading app developer companies beat competition quickly learning from their mistakes and so working with such experienced team would protect you from repeating the same mistakes. App development is a multi-step process that involves careful planning with a proper timeline – again, based on a previous experience.

If you choose the path of creating a mobile app in-house, you can certainly decrease an app development cost, at least initially, because over time, going through fixing bugs caused by lack of experience, you can actually catch up with a price tag you would get from an app development company, should you decide to hire one.

As much as we would like to put a finger on the app development cost, we can only come up with an estimate, simply because each app development process involves many factors that collectively influence a final cost figure. Luckily there areseveral app development budget forming factors that will help you to come up with an app development cost ballpark.

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App Development Influential Factors:

  • App functionality and purpose – what an app will actually be capable of doing for its users.
  • Mobile platforms and devices supported – whether an app will be developed for iOS only or has an Android version as well. What specific devices hardware will it support, e.g. iPhone 13, iPhone 12 Mini, Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, and so on.
  • Integration points – will an app be integrated with third-party apps that will be the source of its content.
  • Use of visual objects – complexity of visual objects inside of an app will significantly influence the cost.
  • Use of smartphone hardware features – whether an app will be using such smartphone features as GPS navigation, NFC technology, motion co-processor, Augment Reality tech, and other technologies that are packed into smartphones or tablet computers.
  • Maintenance plan – once an app development project is over, certainly it will require technical support from its developer to provide updates that patch bugs or introduce new features.

Having said that, there are some typical or average benchmarks for app development project costs that we can apply to different types of apps. These benchmarks range quite widely, based on data from multiple companies that have deduced these app development costs based on their customer projects research.

App Development Benchmarks:

  • Simple app development price tag – $16,000 – $32,000
  • Medium complexity app development price tag – $32,000 – $48,000
  • Complex app development price tag – $72,000+
  • Cost of hiring a US app developer ~$105,000 / year

In the rest of this research, we set out the available data on the development cost for apps using a range of different sources and methodologies.

App Development Cost Benchmarks

Since the inception of major mobile platforms, the app development cost for iOS and Android was significantly different. As of 2022, according to the multiple pieces of research, conducted by established app development companies, the app development cost of making iOS and Android apps is virtually identical. At this point, the major factor that defines the app development cost is its sophistication, which arbitrarily can be defined as – Simple, Medium, and Complex.

According to SPDLoad app development company, it takes 2-4 months to develop a simple app, 4-6 months to make a mid complexity app and 9 months and up for a complex one. Certainly, these are just estimates, because ultimately actual app development timeline also depends on a quality of coordination and level of productivity of an app developers team.

According to app development hourly rates, which currently hovers around $50 / hour, the US app development price cost for a app with a basic user interface and a set of basic features ranges from $16,000 to $32,000, Medium complexity app development project costs between $32,000 and $48,000 and, finally, a Complex app project would require at least $72,000 investment, if not more.

US App Development Costs ($k)


Again, keep in mind that above numbers are just a ballpark, the calculation is based an approximate number of hours that app development team dedicates to a single app.They are meant to give you a bird’s-eye view on what would be the size of your app development budget based on the app’s complexity. These numbers don’t include costs of the app updates, that are part and parcel of any mobile app life cycle, and they significantly vary based on the app’s v1.0 and how significant is a particular update.

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App Development Cost [stages]

Having a ballpark for how much different stages of app development may cost is what allows companies to allocate properly the venture capital they manage to raise along the whole cycle of the mobile app development.

Back in 2017, research conducted by Clutch – B2B analytics company outlined the data collected from more than 100 app development companies. It provided a percentage for how much companies spend on one of the following app development stages – Discovery, Design, Development, and Testing & Deployment.

So when it comes to conducting a pre-research stage 51% of companies representative said that it costs up to $5,000 to come with an initial concept and do research. 22% went above the $5k threshold and spent $10k and 14% spent anywhere between $10 and $25k. Clearly, compared with other app development stages, Discovery is the cheapest one.

Discovery/Pre-Research stage

Source: Clutch

When app development teams proceed to the Design stage, 32% spend less than $5,000, but only 9% venture to spend over $50,000 on an app design. The majority (60%) says within $5 – $50k.

UI / Design stage

Source: Clutch

Development is the major part of the whole mobile app development process, it’s about the actual coding of every feature that an app is supposed to have. For only 9% of respondents the sum they spend on developing an app’s code was below $5,000, for 33% the money they spend on this stage was within $5k-10$k.

Development stage

Source: Clutch

It’s impossible to conceive any app development project without testing and deployment stages. For 32% of respondents, it took less than $5,000 of their budget to do app testing and actually deploy it on the market. Another 31% stayed within the $5-$10k range and the rest went above $10k of their budget to complete the Testing and Deployment stage.

Testing and Deployment stage

Source: Clutch

(Video) How much does it cost to make mobile app | App Developer Cost

Obviously, the core factor that defines the app development cost is an app’s complexity. For example, whether there is a backend server that provides information for the app or not, whetheran app has a built-inuser analytics, a backend CMS support or not, if it has a built-in shopping cart or social media sharing features, and so on.

The hourly rate for mobile app development varies in different parts of the world, it reflects a level of economy development in a particular country. On the graph below, we can see that among six regions India has the lowest average rate – $7 / hour and the US is on the highest end with $47 / hour, which is not a surprise at all.

Average app development hourly rate ($)


App Development Cost Calculators

The app industry is highly competitive, with several million mobile apps on the market, reaching your target users, meeting your ROI objectives are really tough. Businesses are eager to find a way to calculate an app development cost upfront. Aiming to address this important question, multiple online calculators were developed by app development companies, but we’re going to highlight only the most popular ones.

Cleveroad calculator

This calculator will guide you through 10+ questions to shape an app development price tag either for developing an app similar to apps existing on the market (Uber, Snapchat, Airbnb, and others) or create a mobile app from scratch, based on specific requirements. As you’re making choices, answering the questions, you’re getting development time estimates in hours.

Buildfire calculator

It’s a seven-step calculator that guides you through several filters that define a price tag for mobile app development. These are Platform, Features, Users, Integrations, Monetization, Maintenance & Hosting, and Buildfire Services.

Estimate My App calculator

This calculator takes a different approach – all filters to shape a price tag are listed on a single page. The filters cover the app’s size, UI complexity, account features sophistication, user-generated content complexity, mobile-specific features such as Apple Watch support, Cloud Syncing and more, as well as dates & locations, social & engagement, billing & eCommerce, admin & feedback & analytics, External API and Security.

Inoxoft calculator

This calculator is designed to estimate a price tag for both desktop and mobile software. In a contrast with the calculators above, this one gives you a price tag estimate range on each step of the price calculation process.

How Much to Make an App

The eight-step calculator with similar to the Inoxoft one feature to provide a price estimate on each step. The final screen provides a form to fill in with contact details to proceed with the app project development.

Andreasley calculator

An easy-to-use intuitive calculator designed in a shopping-cart style, when all choices are made to define an app development price tag is displayed on the right, as purchased items would in a real shopping cart system. The calculator computes the cost based on Platform, Quality, Number of Screens, Custom Controls, Device types, Screen orientation modes, Security level, Supported OS versions, Number of languages supported, Deployment, and Special functions (such as in-app payments support, stats, Push Notifications and more).

(Video) The Unexpected Costs of App Development

Litslink calculator

A seven-step calculator that walks you through the set of 27 questions, starting with specifying an industry a mobile app needs to be built for. Along with an app development price tag building, the calculator provides a summary of all choices made. Once the cost calculation process is over, the tool provides a contact form to fill in to receive an app development price tag estimate.

Digitalya calculator

A five-step calculator that provides both app development price tag estimate and time this development will take. A ready-to-use estimate is available in a .PDF format to download. The steps to build an estimate are web / mobile / both, the app user profile, features to add to the MVP, way to generate revenue (recurring payments/upfront fees/shopping cart system), and high tech features to include (AI, IoT, VR / AR).

Cost of Hiring App Developer

If a company decides to hire a mobile app developer(s), the question – how much does it cost comes up naturally. According to data, to hire a US-basedmobile app developer, businesses need to pay her or him $120,000 / year (versus $105k in 2021). After converting from a local currency to USD, we see Australia and Germany following the US with $94,000 and$65,000respectively. In countries like India, it is actually way cheaper to hire an app development professional – only $4,100 a year, which we can attribute to the difference between North American, European, Australian, and Indian economies. But of course, the services price tag shouldn’t be the ultimate defining factor for a company to hire an app development team, other kinds of information like previous clients feedback, expertise in specific technical areas, how well a particular team meets deadlines and so on should be factored in as well.

2022 Average mobile app developer annual salary, by country ($k)

Source: Indeed

Assessing an app development cost, one of the first considerations is from what specific location to hire an app development team to meet both app project budget limitations and yet meet quality standards.The following two graphs bring up data for the US cities that provide the highest paying jobs for both iOS and Android app developers. As you would expect, on the top of the chart are the West Coast cities.

Because of COVID-19 pandemic and necessity to work remotely, many app developers relocated to other states to save on rent and habitation in general. This trend has a tangible impact on average app developers salary in different states and cities. As of 2022, in the US some of the top Android app developer salary cities are San Jose, San Francisco, New York, Mountain View, San Diego, Dallas, Chicago and Atlanta. San Francisco and Mountain View are on the most expensive end with $138k / year, Atlanta and Dallas are on the cheapest end with $1117k / year. Naturally, looking at the hourly rates in these cities, one would decide to approach app developers from cities with the lowest rate but you should always factor in app developers previous experience of building similar apps to your one and feedback from businesses those apps were built for.

Highest paying cities in the US for Android Developers ($k)

On the iOS side, the 8 highest paying cities are somewhat different from Android. San Francisco is still number one, just like for Android, but then follows Sunnyvale and San Jose with $142k and $133k respectively.

Highest paying cities in the US for iOS Developers,in USD,in thousands

App Maintenance Cost

Like any software, mobile app development cost has a maintenance component. The industry average accepted cost to maintain software is roughly 15-20% of its original development cost. The maintaining process cost can be broken down to the cost of hosting, monitoring, engagement, marketing, updating, and licensing apps.


The decisive factor in a mobile app backend data hosting cost calculation is what kind of data the app deals with – text or media, such as photo, video, or audio. A media-rich app would require a higher CPU web-server with more RAM and disk space. Based on these factors, an app hosting web server may cost between $70 to $320 a month. The leading web hosting solutions to choose from would be Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud.


Mobile app monitoring is really essential for its success. To monitor an app’s performance you can sign up for mobile analytics platforms we’ve listed in this guide. Because each app has its unique audience and a vastly variable number of users, it’s not feasible to come up even with an estimate for a mobile app monitoring cost but once you get in touch with those companies on the list, make sure you’ll get a ballpark range for your expenses this app maintenance cost constituents.

Engagement & Marketing

A mobile app marketing cost, which includes activities to engage a mobile app user base, consists of multiple components. Any mobile app engagement begins with an app install, a price an app marketer pays for the app’s install depends on the country, platform (iOS/Android), and specific ad unit. In 2021 the iOS CPI (stands for Cost-Per-Install) was $3.6 / app install and on the Android side was just $1.22 / app install. As we go more granular, from a generic app install instance to a desirable action the app user is expected to take, we can talk about an average mobile app user acquisition cost. In 2020, the average app UA costs worldwide were the following:

  • purchase made via a mobile app – up to $75
  • subscription – up to $70.

App Updates

Every single mobile app ever released on an app store, either iOS, Android, Windows Phone, or other platforms needs to have subsequent updates to be released after its launch. On one hand, it’s simply not feasible to develop a perfect app with version 1.o, from the other – subsequent updates are a great tool for a continuous app user base engagement. An actual update release on an app store may take around one hour but the time that it takes to develop an update is significantly varied and depends on an app’s complexity.

(Video) How to calculate app development cost


If a mobile app design incorporates one or more technologies that the developer should pay a license, it may significantly increase an overall app development cost. A license fee to pay depends on annual fees to pay, a number of devices, and, for instance,may reach $120k / year for 50 devices.

Final Thoughts

When businesses estimate a development cost oftheir future app, first of all, they need to factor in a development team location and an app complexity – both factors have a great impact on an overall development cost. Given that both iOS and Android platforms have a high adoption rate, it is a smart strategyfor businesses that go mobile to develop an app for both platforms simultaneously. Because infrastructure is the biggest contributor to an app development cost, it’s quite logical for companies to do their best to save on things like data storage andscalability,third-party API integration, if there are several options available to choose from.

On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic, because it’s triggered app developers relocation and forced them to work remotely, has a significant impact on how much it costs to develop a mobile app.


How much does a good app development cost? ›

The short answer is a decent mobile app can cost $10,000 to $500,000 to develop, but YMMV. Cost of a mobile app developed by an agency with US-based management and a distributed team: Offline standalone app cost: $12,000 to $25,000. App with moderate online connectivity: $5,000 to $45,000.

How much does the average mobile app development cost? ›

App platform
Type of AppAverage Cost
Native apps (Android & iOS)$50,000 to $100,000
Cross-platform apps$25,000 to $60,000
Web apps$15,000 to $50,000
Hybrid apps$10,000 to $150,000

Why does iOS app development cost so much? ›

With that in mind, we consider the complexity of the product as the main factor that affects the iOS development cost. It includes the need for customization, the intricacy of visual design and backend infrastructure, the number of features to develop, and the maintenance costs.

Why is app development so expensive? ›

App complexity has a direct impact on the overall app development price. So if you need your mobile application to do things like process payments, sync with the Internet, process in app purchases, use real-time GPS, push notifications, or link with other app users, it's going to be more expensive to build.

How hard is it to develop an app? ›

Is it easy to make an app? Mobile app development takes time, expertise, programming experience, and is usually expensive. However, creating an app would be highly facilitate by using a no-code tool .

How much does it cost to run and maintain an app? ›

A ballpark average that an app owner will need to spend could be around $250 and $500 a month initially to keep the app functioning perfectly. You can budget 20% of the cost of initial development when calculating the cost of maintaining software.

Do mobile app developers make a lot of money? ›

Mobile app developers make $99,840 per year on average, or $48.0 per hour, in the United States.

How much do app developers make per download? ›

Interestingly, Android is the big winner on downloads for a given app but this is largely offset by substantially lower revenue, with the average app download bringing in around 2 cents to its developer; Apple fairs 5 times better, bringing in a dime for every one of the 40,000 potential app downloads a developer could ...

How long does it take to develop an app? ›

It will usually take 3 to 4 months to successfully develop an app that is ready for public release. When I say develop, I mean the engineering part of the process. This timeframe doesn't include the product definition or design stages of building a mobile app.

What percentage does Apple take from app developers? ›

As of July 2022, Apple takes a standard 30 percent commission rate for App Store transactions and regular subscriptions. Additionally, app developers that host their apps on the Apple App Store and manage to retain subscription users see their commission fees drop to 15 percent after the subscriber's first year.

Can I develop iOS apps without paying? ›

The good news is that you can develop and test your apps on your iOS device without a paid Apple Developer account.

Do iOS developers make more money? ›

The jobs requiring this skill have decrease by 20.36% since 2018. iOS Developers with this skill earn +14.49% more than the average base salary, which is $132,934 per year.

How do I reduce the cost of creating an app? ›

How Startups Can Reduce Mobile App Development Cost
  1. Have a Minimum Viable Product or MVP. ...
  2. Off the Rack Templates. ...
  3. Focus on Essential Features. ...
  4. Troubleshooting. ...
  5. Cross-platform Development. ...
  6. Gripping to device functions only when necessary. ...
  7. Simplicity at its best for UI/UX. ...
  8. Outsourcing.
Feb 20, 2023

What is the average price of an app? ›

The average price of apps and games was 0.80 U.S. dollars.
Average prices for apps in the Apple App Store as of September 2022 (in U.S. dollars)
CharacteristicAverage prices for apps in U.S. dollars
Average app price0.88
Average game price0.49
Average overall price0.8
Sep 22, 2022

Why you should pay for apps? ›

Paid Apps Are Less Likely to Disappear

Nothing can go on for free forever. There are several examples of beloved free apps that were discontinued because they didn't make enough money. One such app was the email app Mailbox, which packed many features that were innovative for email clients at the time.

What percentage of apps are successful? ›

Only 0.5% of apps are successful.

9,999 out of 10,000 apps will fail for various reasons.

How long does it take for one person to build an app? ›

The average time to develop an app with Discovery, Design & Development, and Pre-launch stages is around 7 - 12 months. We found out what stages it takes to develop an app and team size doesn't often mean a shorter app development timeline. However, there's always a way to speed up the process.

Can a beginner make an app? ›

You can definitely code an app yourself. In fact, you can do this without any required professional learning. Lots of people self-teach themselves to code and get a solid foundation in programming from open source projects.

How can you tell if an app is going to cost? ›

While installing the application from Google Play Store you see a green ‘Install’ button on the app, which means that the app is free, though it might include some in-app purchases, as per the features. On the other hand, when the green button has a cost marked on it, it means that it is a paid app.

How many developers are needed to maintain an app? ›

So at a minimum, any project to create a successful mobile app really needs from 4 to 10 people on the team. For example, we had to allocate 6 developers, one Project Manager, and one Account Manager to help Adventure Aide with their product launch and growth.

How much does Apple charge to run an app? ›

On the iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and macOS App Store, Apple charges a 30% fee for apps and in-app purchases. However, the fee doesn't apply to free apps. Subscriptions are charged at 30% for the first year, which then drops to 15% for subsequent years.

How much money does an app with 100k downloads make? ›

Let's say you have a total download user: 100,000

It means 1% of users will click on the ads so We consider 4000 clicks per day. Monthly Revenue: – If each CPC ad pays $ 0.01, then 4000 * 0.01 becomes $ 40per day. So it is 1200 per month. Contact us for creating your own app on the play store or app store.

Can an app developer Be A Millionaire? ›

Some of these developers have become so successful, in fact, that they managed to make their first million even before they hit the legal drinking age. Four exceptional young millionaire app developers stand out from the crowd (in no particular order):

How much does an app with 500k downloads make? ›

With a cost of $2.49 a piece and over 500,000 downloads, its developers have seen over 1 million dollars in revenue. Apps are starting to branch out from the cellular platform as more integrated smart devices are entering the market.

Is it profitable to build an app? ›

So, developing apps is a lucrative business. You couldn't make a better investment than in them. We've done the legwork for you and compiled a list of app concepts that could help you expand your business and bring in revenue even in these trying economic times.

Is it expensive to publish an app? ›

A developer license, required to publish to the app store, is a $99 per year subscription. In addition to the license, Apple is somewhat restrictive on devices used for development and hardware used to build code.

How much does Apple charge developers for apps? ›

On the iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and macOS App Store, Apple charges a 30% fee for apps and in-app purchases. However, the fee doesn't apply to free apps. Subscriptions are charged at 30% for the first year, which then drops to 15% for subsequent years. Developers can also apply for the App Store Small Business Program.

How much does it cost to put an app on the Play Store? ›

How Much Does it Cost to Put an App on the Play Store? There is only a one-time fee of $25 which you pay when you publish your first application. After this, all the apps you publish on google app store for android are cost-free.


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